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Don Martindell and Dawn SOngDon, Dee, and CameronBalloon: Dawn Song II is a Lindstrand 77A built in 2004. The Dawn Song II and its Predecessor Dawn Song have been part of the Gunnison Balloon Rally dating back to the mid 1980’s. Since its first flight in the Gunnison Balloon Rally the Dawn Song has only missed two Rallies. The first missed Rally was due to Pilot Ohio Knox spending three weeks rafting on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The second missed rally was due to the marriage of current Pilot Don Martindell to Dee (Barnes) Martindell. Don and Dee did attend the 2006 rally as spectators during their honeymoon.

Pilot: Don is a second generation balloon pilot as his mother was a balloon pilot in the early 1970’s. Don has been flying the Dawn Song in the Gunnison Rally since 2000. Since 2000 Don has only missed two rallies, a conflict with his July 2006 wedding to Dee. Miss number two was in 2009 due to the birth of Don and Dee’s son Cameron John. Cameron decided to come into the world five weeks early. Ohio flew the Dawn Song in 2009. The Gunnison/Crested Butte area holds a special place in Don’s heart for two reasons. One is the incredible lifelong friends he has made in Gunnison. The second reason is he attended Skyland camp in Crested Butte from the time he was nine until he was fifteen years old. The old Skyland camp was part of an old ranch that was sold and now is the golf course in Crested Butte. Campers were required to be ten years old. Don’s age was manipulated so he could attend the camp a year early. His parents were anxious for Don to experience the incredible beauty of the mountains surrounding Crested Butte. From a young age Don was wise enough to realize he was in God’s country.

Don is the owner of American Realty in Albuquerque. Ohio Knox and Don are partners in American Realty and the Dawn Song Hot Air Balloon. Dee is a Pediatric Social Worker at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque and a former Collegiate Basketball player with High School and College All-American Honors.

A note From Don, Dee, and Cameron… We would like to send out a special thanks to Dale & Michelle Crawford for their sponsorship of the Dawn Song. Another big thanks to Tom, Maria, John, and Aurora Kattnig, and Randy Graupner for always making us feel at home. Thanks to Todd Price for being our son Cameron’s friend and hero. Soft Landings to Steve Yazzie… Don, Dee & Cameron…
 

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